Around 300 guests enjoyed a glittering evening at a packed Coventry Hilton while honouring 45 winners and runners-up from the 2022 National Finals.
With engaging MC and after-dinner speaker Bob ‘The Cat’ Bevan at the helm this showcase event for English lawn bowls was never short of humour for guests who had travelled from all corners of England.
Chair David Tucker offered the warmest of welcomes during which he spoke of the challenge of putting the Bowls England National Finals on a par with equivalent events in other sports.
“It is an incredible achievement to become a national champion and everyone here should be very proud of what they achieved and know that their success will inspire others,” he said.
“We are working hard to elevate the National Finals to an event of true standing, so for everyone in bowls it becomes like the FA Cup in football.”
The first section of the evening saw finalists from 12 events formally receive their trophies. Junior Vice-President David King-Taylor and Senior Vice-President Deepak Tanna shared early presentation duties with Bowls England board member Foster Johnson.
Amongst the recipients were Tony Allcock Trophy winners Shires BC from Lincolnshire, Women’s Top Club victors King’s Torquay BC from Devon and their Gloucestershire-based male equivalent Cheltenham BC.
Senior prizes were handed out to Elaine Amery and Lynn Williams from Somerset plus Anne Bernard (Isle of Wight), while Warwickshire’s Graham Ashby made a speedy double appearance on stage having finished runner-up in the Senior Singles and won the Senior Pairs alongside Nuneaton BC clubmate Steve Smith.
The second part of the evening saw Friends of English Bowling’s Kath Lloyd and Graham Annetts handing Amy Rose, White Rose and Walker Cup trophies to Kent (or Kent B) before board member Malcolm Evans joined the Chair to reward the six different counties who contested the finals of the Balcomb Trophy, Johns Trophy and Middleton Cup.
The audience was then glued to a fascinating discussion between Team England medallists Sophie Tolchard and Nick Brett plus Para Team Manager Helen Lewis-Wall which reflected on the triumphant Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
Focusing on England’s narrow triples final win over Australia Nick Brett said: “We were 12-1 up and looking pretty good in the final – they kept playing the wrong hand which their coach told them pretty regularly!
“The all of a sudden it was 12-all with two to play and those that watched it will have seen they played a forehand when they perhaps should have played a backhand and messed it up which gave Jamie a chance to take the jack.
“I stood right behind the jack watching their last bowl come down and said to the boys: ‘If he misses don’t run until the bowl passes the jack…but despite that I think I was five yards past it well before then!”
Roger Moore from Dennis Mowers and SISIS, board members Adam Tanner and Harry Nijjar plus Sutton Winson’s David Boow made up the final groups of presenters.
Men’s Singles winner Edward Morris was among a wide range of finalists who took to the stage during this closing section while Huntingdonshire’s Nick Brett was back on stage without a microphone to join Lewis Baker in collecting the Men’s Pairs title.
Sophie Tolchard and Harriet Stevens from Devon won the Women’s Pairs crown while Warwickshire’s Daniel Ellicott, who collected the Men’s Junior Singles trophy, was one of many excited faces that deservedly relived their Victoria Park success.
Why not take up the challenge of entering a 2023 National Competition?
In addition to testing your mettle and sharing an enjoyable experience with clubmates, you will meet new bowlers, visit new clubs and maybe even tread the hallowed turf of Victoria Park…
Interested? Click here after December 1st
To be part of Bowls England’s next glittering evening, the Annual Awards Night, which takes place in Leicester on February 25th 2023 purchase tickets here.
You also have until 9am on this Friday November 25th to nominate your club or county’s unsung heroes for one of these Annual Awards. Click here to find out more and to put someone forward.